After a bit confusing (and for some people disappointing) first episode, this one is trying to set the ground for the main course of the show. I must say that I liked this episode. Some of you complain that there was not enough focus on the the killer of the week. It is true but I don't think that this is where we should be pointing our attention at in this show.
Not enough focus on the killer of the week, while wonderfully X-Filesy, and maybe a tad too much on the world building. You have to admire how much they got into the episode with fleshing out the world around Will and how his life is going to work now he works for the FBI and his new partner.. Dr Lecter.
The first show after a pilot has to work hard to gel the ideas the pilot proposed and sometimes has to retcon the roles of actors who got work elsewhere but here they seem to have the ground under their feet and are running full tilt. Everyone is perfectly cast and gets enough screen-time to be setup and start developing character. Lecter gets some real development and i love how straight he is being played. It all works. Maybe Bloom is the only weak link.. she seems to have nothing to do, maybe she is important later but right now Lecter seems like he will be having more fun as Will's partner than she ever will.
The only worry was the killer was neglected as a character and while not very interesting he did get to spout a few neat lines to sum up his philosophy.. but that was it.. he even intersected the main plot a little as if the writers just couldn't wait to get back to the girl and Will's non-relationship (to be fair she has been mostly drugged, asleep or had her throat cut when in the same room as each other).
In the wake of Will's shooting of Garrett Jacob Hobbs last week and the FBI go to Hobbs' hunting cabin in Minnesota where they find stacks of antlers and signs that the place had required more than one person to hunt down Hobbs' victims since there was so much work put into them. Jack believes that Hobbs' daughter Abigail, the one whose life Will saved but who has since been in a coma, is possibly an accomplice used to bait his victims. That being said there is still 7 unaccounted for bodies of Hobbs' victims. Will then has to get a psych eval from Hannibal, which Hannibal gives him without actually doing anything and instead they just talk. In the hunting cabin they find a foreign hair that adds to Jack's hypothesis. Will remains troubled and sees Hobbs, whom he shot ten times, while investigating a new murder case. In a field found by hikers there are six or so bodies of dead people fed sugar water to grow fungus and mushrooms on them. You just have to see this because there is nothing to really explain how awful it is to look at much less think about, also there's a chill that went through me when I saw the one that was still alive much like the sloth victim in the film Se7en. Will deduces that all of the victims are diabetic and put into a diabetic coma by the assailant since he doesn't restrain their arms. Through this he surmises that the assailant works in the medical field due to his knowledge and access to technology and how much thought he seems to put into it is downright eerie. In the background lurks Freddie Lounds, who had trespassed on the fungus crime scene and in Hobbs' hunting cabin. Lounds, for those who haven't read Red Dragon, is interesting to be seen being played as a woman who is manipulative and hungry for a story. After Melisandre on Game of Thrones and Joan on Mad Men I think there's a resurgence of femme fatale red heads emerging, by my observation. But her publishing an article, on Will Graham investigating the case and all of his psychological problems being "Crawford's personal psycho" or something along those line, stops them from catching the fungus grower at the pharmacy where he works. Apparently he had been swapping out diabetic peoples' medication with non-insulin and then going to their address and then burying them. I appreciated getting further into Will's head through his firing at the targets to visiting the hospital where Abigail Hobbs, whom Jack suspects of being an accomplice still, and Alana (from Wonderfalls) tells Jack that he should count the saving of Abigail as a victory which is something that seems to not so easily sink into Will's psyche. I give him mad points for going back to Lecter with the blank check psych eval clearing him for duty after seeing Hobbs at the crime scene. But this was a very solid follow-up and while it didn't have the drive of the pilot I like that Hobbs' legacy will play a big portion of this season's arc with Abigail in a coma and the other bodies left to find. I just hope that we don't always stick to the "killer of the week" formula, that being said the side scenes with Jack and Hannibal having dinner (probably human and not pig loin as Hannibal claims) was a nice side scene. Also the scene between Lounds and Hannibal, although how he knew she was Freddie Lounds just by her lying through her teeth seemed way too deus-ex for me, unless they had already established that he was a rabid fan of the tabloid as he reads her article on Graham later and calls her naughty. I mean Lecter is a spooky guy but he's no omniscient which is something that supreme evil and intimidating characters seem to be capable of in spades so it would seem. But seeing Freddie look like she was the cat that swallowed the canary was nice especially in how Hannibal made her delete the Graham session that she had recorded. That being said, this was a good evolution and hopefully all the rest of the episodes can keep the cinematic quality of Graham's rewinding of crime scenes. The fact that I can actually follow his line of thought when he deduces a crime scene is much easier for me to follow than say Sherlock Holmes in Elementary or the Mentalist who seems to pull clues out of mid-air, but that's just my opinion. I also really enjoy Will's admission that it was just dumb luck that he found Garrett Jacob Hobbs in his classroom and it will clearly continue to haunt him in the after effects of how he's gotten, "too close" according to Alana and Jack.
This episode changed a bit the relation between Hannibal and Will Graham. Graham is upset because he killed last week's bad guy.... What is really clever here is that he's upset because he liked killing the guy. So he comes to see the psychologist Hannibal Lecter who understands him better than anyone (you bet he does!) ...
This makes an other similarity between Hannibal and Graham... Their relationship evolves then, Graham needing Hannibal more and more because he, for now, finds a comprehensive hear.
Oh, the dialogue. So many things come together to make this series the incredible watch it has been so far. Some diction choices aren't as subtle as others, allowing for a mix of dry and not so dry humor. They underplay Lecter so perfectly, too, just throwing that occasional bone to make sure you know who he is and what he does, but not enough to beat you over the head with it. "I'd like to have you and your wife for Not over for dinner. For dinner. Exquisite. The case this week wasn't really anything to note, though the concept was both grotesque and intriguing. The relationship between Will and Lecter has shifted slightly; there's more of a protective edge coming out of Hannibal, I think. I can't wait to see how it evolves come next week.
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